From religion to reality
"During childhood, our home was religious," recalls Jenny Carroll. "Our parents often took us to church. My mother read to us from the Bible. But, somehow, there wasn't a reality about it.
"Looking back, I know that one great influence was going to Bible camps. They spoke about the Good News of God, of Jesus. Also, I saw miracles, healings that took place in answer to prayer.
"Yet I kept trying to know God for myself. I would go to church. Trying to get right with God, I did my best, even giving money to charities. But nothing helped.
"Then, at age 16, I went to a Bible camp in Cornwall. A lady prayed with me. Incredibly, she prayed things about me that no person could possibly know. I realised that it could only be God speaking through her. And I knew, at once: God is alive; Jesus really died and rose again to life for me. I gave myself completely to God.
"From that time onward, I totally followed God. Even then I felt called to tell others the Good News of Jesus being alive and wanting to relate to them personally. I believed that preaching about the Lord publicly is what I was meant to do with my life. This conviction was so strong that I worked at jobs just to earn a living but focused on opportunities for Christian witness."
All of that changed last year when Jenny felt she needed to share her faith with others on a full-time basis. One Bible account really impressed her as she read about Jesus calling His disciples.
They were prepared to leave their father, their family business and security behind – and it was all to follow Jesus when He called them.
As she considered this major step of leaving her secular work and income behind, she talked with others. Two Christian leaders prayed with her on different occasions. Yet, they both cited that same Bible account. Jenny knew it was time to begin her calling as an evangelist.
Having previously taken a practical course 'Streetwise' with OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners), she became an OAC Trainee Evangelist.
From Africa to Iceland
Now Jenny is completing different modules ranging from theological studies to hands-on experience with OAC Staff Evangelists.
"Living in Reading, I especially appreciate the need to strategically approach local evangelism," she observes.
"Because OAC works inter-denominationally, it means team members from different churches can relate to people of all ages and ethnicities in their area."
However, Jenny does not see open air evangelism as strictly a local activity. Her background includes valuable experience with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) in Tanzania. Her talents developed further as she became fluent in Swahili. Leaving in 2010, Jenny felt that she would one day return to Tanzania to live and serve in evangelism there.
This summer, her OAC work took her to another part of Africa, Zambia, as part of an evangelism team which saw many people coming to faith.
"I'm prepared to go anywhere in the world to tell others about Jesus," insists Jenny. "That's my work and I really love it!"
Jenny demonstrates that clearly as she will be part of the team joining Franklin Graham for outreach this autumn – in Iceland!